The Fever series:
MacKayla Lane is a self-proclaimed sunshine girl, both in appearance and disposition. She has long, blond hair, she wears pastels and rainbow colours and adores pink nail polish. Her life in Georgia is easy and care free. Then her sister Alina, studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, is brutally murdered, and her life is turned upside down. Defying her distraught parents’ wishes, Mac goes to Dublin to find answers, as the police fairly quickly dismiss the case. On the voicemail message Alina left Mac just hours before she died, it’s obvious that she was on the run from someone. She also claims that she has to find the Sinsar Dubh or everything will be lost, and Mac doesn’t even know how to spell the thing, let alone what it is.
To her shock, shortly after arriving in Dublin, Mac realizes that not only had her sister been hiding her activities from her family, but Mac has unusual abilites, and can see thefae, which normally appear cloaked in powerful glamour to normal people, or walk through the streets invisible to but a few. She finds an unlikely ally in the dark and mysterious bookstore owner Jericho Barrons, who explains to her that she is a sidhe-seer, and that the dark faeries in Dublin’s streets may well kill her if they discover that she can see them as they truly are. Barrons is also the one who tells Mac what theSinsar Dubh her sister mentioned actually is – a legendary Unseelie (dark) faerie book, believed to contain all the magical secrets of the Unseelie king. It alledgedly holds the power to remake worlds, and Alina is certainly not the only one wanting to find it. Barrons discovers that as well as being able to see the fae, Mac seems to possess the ability to sense powerful fae artifacts. He therefore proposes that she move into his bookstore, that they team up to find the Sinsar Dubh, and he will help her try to find her sister’s murderer.
It quickly becomes clear to Mac that the quest for her sister’s murderer, and to locate the Sinsar Dubh is extremely dangerous, and she has a number of near death experiences. Luckily, as Barrons refuses to let his faery artifact-detector get injured, he’s always around to get her out of scrapes. More and more unseelie show up on the streets of Dublin, and Mac discovers that the shady figure who’s opening portals to the faerie realm and letting them through, allowing them to roam the streets, hunting humans, calls himself Lord Master, and that he was Alina’s boyfriend. The Lord Master also wants the Sinsar Dubh, and claims he had nothing to do with Alina’ murder. He wants Mac to join his cause, something neither she, Barrons or Mac’s other unlikely ally, the Seelie (light) fae prince V’Lane, are very enthusiastic about.
Over the course of the five books, Mac, Barrons, V’Lane and the coven of sidhe-seers in Dublin have to try to stop the Lord Master and his Unseelie allies from taking over not only Dublin, but large parts of the world. Mac goes through more than one transformation, and in the end, is far from the innocent, optimistic, naive and sunny blonde who traveled to Ireland to find the truth about her sister’s death. When she finally does find out who killed her sister, she’s gone through Hell pretty much literally and metaphorically, and lost pretty much everything she thought she cared for in the world. Her quest for revenge and to locate and discover the truth about the Sinsar Dubh, not to mention herself and her heritage takes her to some incredibly dark places, and what doesn’t kill her, not only makes her stronger, but harder and more ruthless.
In Darkfever, Mac is pretty much a ditz, but even to begin with, she refuses to take orders from the autocratic Barrons without constantly demanding anwers the cryptic gentleman is reluctant to give. She as a few moments of TSTL in the first book, but they are pretty much excused by the fact that she’s 22, raised in a sheltered and loving environment, and ideas of bloody vengeance, sinister faeries that prey on humanity and a huge plot to alter the world as she and everyone else human knows it, are very far from her reality. She adapts and learns quickly, and gives herself surprisingly little time to dwell on the miseries that life keeps throwing at her. Because it annoys Barrons immensely, she persists in being bubbly, optimistic and dressing in rainbow colours for as long as possible. When things turn darker, and it’s clear that she’ll have to adapt into becoming a fighter, she again barely flinches, and learns what she needs to stay alive.
Barrons is one big mystery. His origins are unknown, and as Mac discovers, he is unlikely to be just 30, no matter what his driver’s license says. He doesn’t react well to birthday surprises, and as she gets to know him better, Mac starts to doubt that he’s even human. He’s tall, dark, impeccably clad, very striking looking and a self-proclaimed villain. He holds his cards extremely close to the chest, and only very occasionally lets anything slip about his past or his motivations. Mac is frequently unsure whether she finds him deeply attractive or completely loathsome. He’s very dangerous, owns a bookstore described as something that would put the library inBeauty and the Beast to shame, has a garage full of expensive sports cars, and is clearly wealthier than Bruce Wayne. I can see why romance bloggers all over the internet are weak at the knees for him. Barrons is the ultimate alpha, and there is nothing soft or sensitive about him. He is willing to do pretty much everything to get what he wants, he is ruthless if crossed, but also willing to kill to protect those he cares about. For a lot of the series, he’s frankly incredibly mean to Mac – but like so many other magnificient bastards of literature, he pulls it off wonderfully.
I was surprised when I added up the page count and saw how much the five books actually consist of, as they are very fast and easy reads. Faefever andDreamfever (books 3 and 4) both end on cliffhangers, and after both books, I didn’t waste a second before starting the next one. They are gripping and addictive, if occasionally very dark and quite violent reads. Also, while not wishing to spoil, readers who have a problem with rape as storyline trope should be warned that at a certain point towards the mid-point of the series, this is unavoidable. So if you can’t get past it at all in storylines (I can if it’s not used just for gratuitiousness and shock effect), you may want to give this series a miss. Otherwise, I would recommend it for fans of dark paranormal fantasy with romantic undertones.
Crossposted on my blog.